The Boston Public Library released its annual ‘Black Is…’ booklist. Here’s what’s on it.

Library staff put together a list of 69 titles for Black History Month, ranging from poetry to fiction to picture books.

3/15/20 - Empty desks line the Boston Public Library's Reading Room on March 15, 2020. The library remains open, however all activities and room rentals have been suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak. Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe

The Boston Public Library began honoring Black History Month this week by releasing its annual “Black Is…” booklist, which features titles that focus on and celebrate “unique aspects of the Black experience.”

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The 2021 list, curated by librarians from across the city, features 69 titles published in the last year — both nonfiction and fiction — for adults, teens, and children. 

“This year, the list notably features a ‘Black Lives Matter’ section of titles that discuss topics related to the BLM movement, such as police brutality and voter suppression, and amplify the need for activism,” the library said in an announcement Monday.

During the height of the protests against racism last summer, the library said it saw a 500 percent increase in checkouts and holds on some of the most popular titles focused on anti-racism and Black Lives Matter. Librarians created an Antiracist Reading List, which has some of the same titles that appear on the 2021 ‘Black Is…’ booklist.  


“To meet this rising demand, the BPL spent more than $75,000 to expand this collection by purchasing new and additional copies of in demand titles,” the library said. 

In addition to the “Black Is…” reading list, the library is hosting several events honoring Black History Month, including a conversation on Feb. 2 with Sybrina Fulton, an activist and the mother of Trayvon Martin. She will speak about her book, “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” 

Below, see the 69 titles in the “Black Is…” list for 2021 that librarians are recommending readers pick up to honor and celebrate Black History Month. 

Scroll to the bottom of the story to let know your favorite Black authors and their works.




Young Adult Fiction 

Young Adult Nonfiction 

Children’s Books

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